Flowers were first recorded as being used in food in 140 BC, many different cultures since incorporated them into everyday foods.
Calendula flower petals make a tasty addition to summer salads and stir-fries.
Sow: March-May thinly direct into finely raked, moist, warm, weed free soil where the plants are to flower 13mm (½”) deep. As the seedlings develop, thin them out in stages to achieve a final spacing of 23-30cm (9-12”). For early flowering the following year, sow direct August/September where the plants are to flower.
Varieties of Calendula: Orange King, Pink Surprise, Fiesta Gitana, Lemon Zest.
Carnation petals have a slight peppery taste and are good with grilled meats, salads and stir fries.
Sow: Jan-Apr in a propagator on a windowsill or in a greenhouse, at approx. 15-20°C (60-68°F) using a good quality, moist compost. Cover the seeds with 3mm (⅛”) sieved compost. Transplant seedlings, spaced out 5cm (2”) in trays and grow on in a good light. Acclimatise plants and pinch out growing tip before planting out 30-40cm (12-16”) apart in a sunny position. Use bushy twigs to support plants if necessary.
Variety: Chabaud Giant Mix.
3. French Marigold
French Marigold flower petals make a tasty addition to summer salads and have a citrus type flavour.
Sow: February-May thinly in pots or trays on a windowsill or in a greenhouse at approximately 15-20°C (60-68°F) in a good quality, finely sieved, moist compost, 6mm (¼”) deep. Transplant seedlings spacing them 5cm (2”) apart in trays and grow on. Acclimatise the plants to outside
conditions and plant 15-23cm (6-9”) apart in a sunny site. Alternatively, sow thinly direct outside into finely raked, moist soil where the plants are to flower.
Varieties of French Marigold: Boy-O-Boy Mix, Jolly Japes, Fantasia Mix, Mowgli Orange.
Hollyhocks are completely edible—root, leaves and blossoms.
Sow: April-June in a propagator on a windowsill or in a greenhouse at approximately 15-21°C (60-70°F)
using a good quality, moist compost. Cover the seeds lightly with sieved compost. Transplant seedlings, spaced out into trays and grow on. Acclimatise plants gradually before planting out 38-45cm (15-18”) apart in a sunny position. Alternatively, sow direct outside May/June.
Varieties of Hollyhock: Chater’s Mix, Black Knight, Showgirls.
Sow: February-April thinly in pots on a windowsill or in a greenhouse at approximately 10-15°C (50-60°F), 3mm (⅛”) deep, in a good quality, finely sieved, firmed, moist compost. Transplant seedlings, spacing 5cm (2”) apart in trays and grow on. Plant into tubs or baskets in May, after carefully acclimatising to outside conditions, 15cm (6”) apart in the container, preferably around the edges. Alternatively, plant outside 23cm (9”) apart as a ground cover edging. Sow June-July for flowering next year.
Varieties of Viola: Midnight Runner, Fancy Shades Mix.Kitchen Garden reading in the monthly magazine. Click here to subscribe.